Wednesday 4 March 2009

Crossed Genres, Issue 3

The Romance issue. Five sci-fi/fantasy stories with a romance theme.

First up, Laugh if you Love me by TK Read. It's a little heavy on the adjectives and adverbs for my taste which makes the writing dense and treacly. That aside, I liked the Galliwoogers and it's a neat little story that's short enough for elevenses.

Next is A Crazy Kind of Love by Jeremy Zimmerman. Oooh, I liked this. It defies expectations and the ending is not predictable until the last few paragraphs. I enjoyed the 'will he, won't he' suspense and genuinely didn't know what the protagonist would do.

I also liked Galatea's Reaction by Claire Dietrich. The opening is very emotional and engaging. Again, I didn't expect the twist and the ending is bittersweet. It's romance for people who like it to hurt.

The fourth story, A Night in the Library by Anne Toole, is disappointing. The opening sentence is great and throughout the writing is good. It's the cliched relationships and stereotypical characters that let this piece down. The female protagonist falls for the noble man that's just been torturing her after having been pining after an unavailable womaniser. To be fair, it's the piece that probably best captures the icky formula of the romance genre, but it wasn't pleasant to read.

Heartline by CL Rossman is also a litte weak. The fantasy setting felt like mere dressing up for relationships and experiences that are all too familiar. The protagonist's attitude to his wife was patronising and that niggled me a little. I do think that men's experience of becoming fathers and the cultural conditioning surrounding masculinity and emotional expression could do with some exploration, but in this case there was too much tell and not enough show. Perhaps it could have been handled better if the piece had been longer.

All in all, I think the fiction in Crossed Genres is getting better with each issue and I very much enjoyed two of the stories.

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